tv Comunidad del Valle NBC October 16, 2016 9:30am-10:01am PDT
to "comunidad del valle." i'm damian trujillo, and today, la familia is in our studio, the annual recipients of the la familia award on your "comunidad del valle." male announcer: nbc bay area presents "comunidad del valle" with damian trujillo. damian: we begin today with the organization that puts on this great event to honor la familia. with me is the former mayor of san jose and president and ceo of the hispanic foundation of silicon valley, mayor ron gonzales. welcome back to the show, mayor. ron gonzales: it's always nice to talk to you, damian. damian: well, you know, when you--and we talked about this before is that when you came on to the hispanic foundation, you took it to the next level, and then you keep--you kind of keep raising the bar. right now, tell us what the latest is with the foundation. ron: well, there's a lot of great things that have happened over the last year since we last talked about
our hispanic foundation ball. and a lot of it has to do around the education space that we continue to work very hard in. we want to try to get as many latino students prepared to go to and through college. and one of the latest editions we did was you are seeing right now is our latinos in technology scholarship announcement, where we handed out about 45 scholarships to college students who are going to colleges throughout the united states, but they're majoring in what we call stem degrees. these are the kind of degrees that our young people need to have when they come out of college to work at places like google and apple and facebook, the majority of the jobs, the high-tech jobs that exist here in silicon valley. and we opened up a brand new family college success center, which has been fantastic. hundreds, thousands of parents and students come in to use that center for a variety of purposes. damian: and so, at the same--while you're helping the students there, you're also helping the parents, and helping giving them leadership skills so that they can be maybe more involved with the education of their children. ron: we're very excited.
we continue to be very excited with our parent education academy program. this is a program that we started a couple, now three school years ago with a major grant from the coca-cola foundation. and this is a 10-week program that we do in spanish, so our spanish speaking parents can participate, and learn how they can be supportive of their child's education. tremendously successful, so much to the point where we now have school districts asking us for the program, and being willing to pay for 50% of the cost. so, with the grant money that we've been able to receive for our parent education academy, we've been able to double the number of parents we serve. damian: do you have, in your mind, a vision of a--is it three-point or four-point model? and when you're talking about students, you're talking about the parents, you're talking--you're also training latinos in the community to become board members. i mean, how many points are we talking here? and you're not leaving anyone behind. ron: well, you know, as hard as we can work through the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors, we still know that there are so many latinos in silicon valley,
in our service area, that we're not reaching. and that's just because our population is so large. however, we continue to try to bring in more funding so that the wonderful programs that we do offer can be offered to more parents, to more students, to more leaders in our community who want to be engaged in non-profit boards of directors. our latino board leadership academy, the program we were talking about, is a program that now has trained over 230 fellows, as we call them, in just a couple of years. and 79% of those people are now serving on a non-profit board of directors somewhere in silicon valley. damian: what kind of difference does that make? why does that matter? ron: well, i think it's important that these non-profit organizations, many of which serve huge segments of our population, that many times, their clients are 60, 70, as much as 80, 90% latino, have to have, in our opinion, have to have latinos on their board of directors so they can make sure that the board is inclusive of our culture, inclusive of the
types of ways that can best serve our community. and you can only do that, in our opinion, by making sure that your board of directors is diverse, not just latinos, but asian-americans, african-americans, and women certainly. damian: i know that--circling back to your student effort, i know that since you came on board, even when you were mayor, we're talking about these high-tech companies in silicon valley, and having to import workers because the workforce isn't here. and you've been challenging yourself and challenging those ceos, "let's train our own within our own community." ron: we have. and that effort started in earnest about a year ago with our latinos in technology scholarship program that we mentioned earlier, greatly supported with initial big investments from intel corporation, reed hastings through his personal philanthropy, the hastings fund. reed is the ceo of netflix, of course. and other companies who have come in to support that effort. you know, we know that many times, our latino students in college fail to graduate from college for a variety of
financial reasons, not because of academic reasons. we don't want that to happen anymore. when a student gets to their junior level in college, and has decided they want to be a computer engineer or a software engineer, we want to be there to support them and make sure that they don't have to work in a part-time job, or that they, you know, have to drop out of college because of some financial reason they may have. damian: all right. well, the highlight of all of this is the hispanic foundation ball. it's happening at the san jose fairmont, where they honor la familia, they issue the la familia award. we'll be talking about that award when we continue here on "comunidad del valle." stay with us. [music]
former san jose mayor ron gonzales, and current president and ceo of the hispanic foundation of silicon valley. and here we go again, it's another foundation ball. you're honoring this year the cervantes family of san jose. ron: the cervantes family is our 27th family that we've recognized in the 27 years of our foundation.
and every year, we task a group of volunteers from our community that serve on the la familia committee. we ask them to find a family in our community that represents the kind of the objectives of the la familia award. and basic criteria is a family that's giving back to our community as volunteers. and the cervantes family, who we're honoring this year, you know, i think is a perfect example of that criteria. and all the 26 families that preceded them all involved in their own communities in very, very different ways. and of course, the cervantes family has dedicated a lot of their personal time and family time to being involved with immigration reform, immigration laws, assisting latinos who are first generation immigrants to, you know, get into the immigration process, and hopefully become citizens. not an easy chore, and certainly not now, unfortunately, with the national conversations that are taking place around the
presidential campaign, but it's heartwarming to see these families not be disengaged because of that, or be discouraged because of those--because of those conversations, but be more encouraged to get involved. and the cervantes family is a perfect example of that. damian: you don't choose the family, your committee does exclusive of you. but you always--your agency always has a knack for choosing a family that does their community service without looking for a pat on the shoulder, a pat on the back. in fact, sometimes they don't want that. and this is no exception. ron: yeah, exactly. and you know, fortunately, we put out the call for nominations to the community every year. we've gotten a very good response, you know, through that process. and each year, the la familia community always has a very difficult task because we only choose one. and many times in the past, the committee has come to me and said, "can we do two?" and i say, "no, you're devaluing the award if you give it to more than one family."
now, there have been families who didn't get it one year, but will get it in a subsequent year, so that happens occasionally. damian: well, talk about the ball this year. what can we expect? ron: well, you can expect another great time. we have a great reception starting at 5:30, dinner at 7, program, a short program. you know that because you're our emcee, one of our two emcees this year again. a short program from 8 to 9, and then dancing from 9 to about 11:30 or so. so, it's a wonderful event. we usually get around 800 attendees. we have somewhere between 50 to 60 corporate sponsors and other sponsors. and you know, we're very, very grateful for the generosity of our funders and the generosity of our community. we also take the opportunity to raise a little bit of money from the audience and the crowd to support this. and this year, we're going to use those funds to support our scholarship program. damian: and you know, every year, you're talking about your program, and the many things that you offer with the foundation at the ball. but the highlight's got to be the recognition
of this family, the family. ron: it's always the highlight. you know, we do send out evaluations to those attendees that we have email addresses for. and year after year, a lot of things of the ball are rated highly, including you and your colleague serving as an emcee. but the number one thing is always--yeah, you'd be without a job. damian: your wife will give you a challenge. ron: but every year, the la familia award is the top thing. and i think that it just resonates with us because we all have, you know, similar situations in our families, maybe in different ways. but the strength of family, the strength of your faith, you know, really comes to bear in a good way in our community. damian: lastly, talk if you will about the stamp you think that the foundation has put on this entire valley, this entire bay area, if you will, just the good work and the resources that you've been offering this community. what kind of footprint do you think you're leaving here? ron: well, i hope that it's a deep
and wide footprint, you know? like i said before, we have--we make up 30% of the silicon valley population. that's about 650,000 latinos that call silicon valley their home. we know that is very difficult to call silicon valley your home with the, you know, how high housing costs and those kinds of things. but we work very, very hard to try to reach as many of our community as possible. now, you know, we, because of limited funds, we had to focus our attention around education, leadership development, and convening and engaging the hispanic community. we'd like to be able to do more of those things. and hopefully someday, as we continue to grow our revenues, we'll be able to do that. damian: well, again, they'll be recognized at the annual hispanic foundation ball happening just in a couple of weeks. there is the web address for more information for the hispanic foundation of silicon valley, the hispanic foundation ball, and the annual la familia award. thank you, mayor, again for-- ron: thank you. it's always a pleasure, damian. damian: thank you very much. but up next, we'll meet la familia. stay with us.
are the recipients of the annual la familia award. with me on "comunidad del valle" is leo cervantes, who is the oldest son in the family. you have a younger brother, and of course mom and dad. welcome to the show, and congratulations. leo cervantes: thank you. damian: all right. well, so dad can't be here because he's working. your dad works nonstop. and your mom speaks spanish only, and you're the one who's kind of carrying the torch here. talk about your family reaction when you heard that you were receiving this award called the la familia award. leo: at first, we were surprised, you know, like, we never really won anything before this. so, when the news broke out that we'd won something, we were in shock. like, we didn't--we didn't really know what to do. damian: yeah, i know we have a video of your family. and then you also volunteer with siren, the immigrant rights group here in san jose. now, i know that your mom is very active with siren.
she gives workshops and whatnot. but you're right there as well, you're with the siren youth group. leo: yeah. damian: tell us about that. leo: well, at first, the reason i went into it is because, well, i just said it might be fun, you know. but i never really thought i'd be changing anything until they sent us out to dc, and i realized, "oh, what i'm doing could help other people, like, just besides us." damian: now, you went to dc to kind of hear the oral arguments when the supreme court was talking about--or was taking up the president's deferred action on immigration. so, you went there to dc to kind of voice your opinion, and you were there with thousands of other people. leo: yeah. but unfortunately, we didn't--we weren't able to go in because we were a little bit low on time. and like, when we got there, like all the arguments were about to be finished. so, we got there and we stayed outside, but there--what surprised me the most about that was how many people actually showed up to the event to support it really. damian: now, i asked you this, you and i spoke last week,
i asked you about the pride you feel in the tireless work that your mom and dad do. i mean, they have their jobs, yet they're going out and they're volunteering with siren, they're helping others who are fighting for immigrant rights. talk about that pride you have. leo: i'm really proud because usually-- damian: i mean, you're--you know, they're helping out the community. leo: i guess the pride i feel for them is like it's really great, you know? because i realize that they don't do it just for them, they do it for other people too. like, i really admire that about them. damian: the mayor and i were talking about how families sometimes do things, or a lot of times do things without the recognition, you don't want to be recognized. you don't want--you don't want to be sitting here next to me doing this interview. but yet, you're doing what you're doing not for the recognition, but because it needs to be done. leo: yeah. i'm also doing it for my family too, yeah. damian: now, let's get into that a little bit because, i
mean, i talked to your younger brother and yourself, and there is a worry when you both go to school that maybe at some point, mom and dad might not be home when you get home from school. leo: well, yeah. at home, i'm always the last one to leave, the first one to come home. like, it'd be scary, you know, if i got there and they weren't there. then my brother would come home and we'd both just panic because it would just be us, we wouldn't know what to do. damian: and that's because your parents are undocumented. leo: yeah. damian: now, it's easy--or i shouldn't say easy, but a lot of families who are in that situation, they choose to, quote unquote, live in the shadows, hide, not really go out, not really be noticed because you don't want to draw attention to yourself. your mom and dad are the opposite. they're right there, they're leading the charge, and they're fighting for immigrant rights when they themselves, you know, are in danger of maybe not being there the next day. talk about that. leo: well, they're, like, the type of people that don't want to just sit by and, like, not do anything. they want to be out there and just, like, help other people
any way they can. damian: what is that about them, do you think? and is that trickling down to you? i mean, you're--there you are volunteering as well. leo: honestly, i'm not very that much, like, outgoing to other people. they're like--they usually, "hey, i'm over here. i'll do this, i'll do that," but it doesn't really trickle down to us. but like, if we feel the need to, we'll go out there and do stuff for them too. damian: then there's another thing that your mom is--her brother passed away. leo: yeah. damian: in mexico. her father passed away in mexico. she was not able to go to the funeral of either of them because of her immigration status. leo: yeah. damian: how much has that hurt you? how much has that hurt the family? leo: it hurts the family a lot, you know, because we--there would always be, like, a family crisis over there, and we'd be stuck over here, and we wouldn't really know, like, what to do. so like, we're always living with that--with the knowledge that no matter what happens over there, we won't be able to go there or do anything about it because we're stuck here.
damian: now, you can because you're a us citizen, you and your brother are. but mom and dad, if they go--if she went to her father's funeral, she might not be able to come back. leo: she won't come back. damian: wow. again, your reaction, before we wrap it up, that this award is being given to your family. leo: amazing, i guess. damian: amazing, all right. well, they'll be recognized at the hispanic foundation ball. that's the hispanic foundation of silicon valley. again, the annual la familia award. again, a lot of these families, they don't like the recognition, they don't like the spotlight, they don't like the cameras. leo: nope. damian: but they're being recognized anyway because of that humility, and because of the great work that they do. happening october 22nd at the san jose fairmont, there is the web address for more information. congratulations. leo: thank you. damian: all right. we'll be back here on "comunidad del valle." stay with us.
[music] [music] [music] [music] damian: and now, saludos to those celebrating their special day. [music] damian: and here's our contact information. you can follow me on twitter. my handle is @newsdamian. also, pick up a copy of el observador newspaper, and support your bilingual weeklies across the bay area. you can also watch us in español, "comunidad del valle" on telemundo canal 48 every sunday morning right
after this show, at 11 a.m. on telemundo channel 48, your "comunidad del valle." thank you once again for sharing a part of your sunday with us. we leave you now with the voices of latin rock, buenos días. male: well, you all might remember this song. this is called "love the way." [music] [music] [music] [music]
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